Last time these teams met it was not a friendly match between the two. Granted much of that was thanks to constant back and forth between Aqib Talib and Steve Smith, however, the Pats will be seeking revenge this week against a team they haven’t beaten since 2009.
It seems like the Pats almost always play ugly against this team. Aside from the Super Bowl which was a back and forth shootout, they have just not been fun games between these two in recent memory. The offense seems to be clicking a little better, but definitely not 100%. A lot of Brady’s passes are still very off target, and they could have lost that game on multiple occasions because of that on the game winning drive. On the bright side, Brandin Cooks showed he’s the real deal last week. Man can that guy fly. Chris Hogan has also had a big couple of weeks, making up for the absence of Julian Edelman. However, defenses have to catch on at some point. Maybe not Carolina’s mediocre secondary though. With weapons like Kuechley and Thomas Davis at lineback, they may shut Gronk down better than most teams. They don’t seem likely to be able to stop Cooks, Hogan, Amendola, James White, and the rest of the speedy attack on offense. Points should not be hard to find for this offense.
The defense looked pretty good last week, all 33 points aside. To be fair, credit one of those TD’s to Brady’s strip sack TD. DeAndre Hopkins was a non factor, as well as Lamar Miller. The tough part for the Pats, as is has been the past 5 years, is stopping the passes to Christian McCaffrey. A lack of Greg Olsen, and possibly Kelvin Benjamin will aid this Pats defense. Cam Newton has also struggled mightily this week. If you get in Cam’s head early, then its game over and he’ll give up by halftime. Maybe an early pick, and a couple good hits to him in the first half and he’s as good as done. Kind of a sad statement about a former NFL MVP.
The Pats should make handy work of this flukey Panthers team, and make them look just as bad as the Saints did last week. 38-17 Pats. TDs out of Hogan, Brady (rushing), Gillislee, Gronk, and Amendola.
Written By: Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)